From Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr. <[email protected]>
Subject Chairman’s Update: New Legislators Sworn In, State of the State, and More!
Date January 12, 2024 10:38 PM
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On behalf of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to each member of the newly sworn-in legislature. Their commitment to public service and dedication to representing the people of New Jersey is commendable, and I am confident that under their leadership, our state will continue to thrive. It is particularly exciting to see so many new legislators taking office who represent the diversity that makes New Jersey the dynamic place that it is, and I’m certain that their varied life experiences and perspectives will enrich the legislative process.

I would also like to extend my warmest congratulations to Senate President Scutari and Speaker Coughlin for being elected to new terms as leaders. Both have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities, and their re-elections signify the trust and confidence placed in their abilities. Alongside Governor Murphy, their continued vision and guidance will undoubtedly steer us toward a brighter future for New Jersey.

As we embark on this new legislative session, let us work together tirelessly to address the challenges facing our communities and build a more inclusive and prosperous future for all New Jerseyans.

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This week Governor Murphy delivered his 2024 State of the State Address at the State House in Trenton, his sixth since taking office. In his speech, Governor Murphy vowed to make New Jersey more affordable for more families, continue to establish New Jersey as the best place to raise a family, and build upon the historic economic growth of the last six years by securing New Jersey’s future in leading emerging industries.

“Together, we are building a New Jersey that is better today and brighter tomorrow,” said Governor Murphy. [[link removed]] “Over the past six years, we have committed to building a state that is stronger and fairer for all – and that lives up to the promise of opportunity and hope for every New Jerseyan. Today, we reaffirm that commitment by dedicating ourselves to making New Jersey the best place anywhere to raise a family. We know these are hard times, so we are working even harder to strengthen and grow New Jersey’s middle class.”

Throughout his address, Governor Murphy unveiled several additional new proposals to advance this vision such as:

- Defending reproductive freedom by calling on the Legislature to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for abortion procedures and establish protections for patients.

- Protecting the fundamental right to vote by instituting same-day voter registration and expanding the right to vote to 16 and 17 year-olds in local school board elections.

- Introducing new initiatives to increase literacy rates among schoolchildren and further cement New Jersey’s status as the best public education system in America;

- Building on progress in expanding pre-K to more than 14,000 children to make universal pre-K a reality, so more kids can participate and more parents get the child care assistance they need no matter their economic status;

- Upholding gun safety laws, expanding community violence prevention programs, and supporting members of law enforcement to build on the Murphy Administration’s success in lowering shootings in New Jersey to a nearly 15-year low.

With our new legislator sworn in and with Governor Murphy's vision for what we can achieve, I feel the potential for progress in our state has never been more promising. The commitment to addressing key issues, such as healthcare reform, education improvement, and sustainable development, resonates strongly. It's an exciting time, filled with possibilities and opportunities for meaningful advancements that will benefit our communities and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

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January is Muslim Heritage Month, and NJDSC is celebrating with a weekly spotlight on members of our Muslim Caucus that are a shining example of what it looks like to be a community leader and advocate for the rights and protections of our New Jersey Muslim community at large.

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This week, our spotlight is on Dr. Mannan Razzak and Azra Baig, two distinguished members of our Muslim Caucus who exemplify exceptional leadership and advocacy for the New Jersey Muslim community.

Dr. Mannan Razzak is actively involved in North Caldwell politics and has played a crucial role in the restructuring of the New Jersey Democratic Muslim Caucus. Beyond his political engagement, Dr. Razzak is a dedicated pediatrician and serves as the President of Woodland Park Pediatrics in Woodland Park, New Jersey. In 2010, he co-founded the practice with his wife, Dr. Nadia M. Razzak, and has since seen it grow into the premier pediatric facility in the area, providing care to thousands of families.

Azra Baig, with over two decades of unwavering commitment to the Muslim community, has made significant contributions. As a registered nurse in the State of New Jersey, she currently holds the position of Project Specialist at the New Jersey Department of Health. Azra's dedication extends to her service as a staff member on Governor Phil Murphy’s Transition Team and her past role as a member of the South Brunswick Board of Education.

These exemplary individuals embody the spirit of community leadership and advocacy, shaping a positive impact on the rights and protections of the New Jersey Muslim community. Their efforts resonate with the essence of Muslim Heritage Month, highlighting the diverse contributions of Muslims to the social and political fabric of our state.

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In keeping with his promise to address the student loan debt crisis, President Biden announced that starting next month, borrowers enrolled in SAVE who took out less than $12,000 in loans and have been in repayment for 10 years will get their remaining student debt canceled immediately. This action will particularly help community college borrowers, low-income borrowers, and those struggling to repay their loans. And, it’s part of our ongoing efforts to act as quickly as possible to give more borrowers breathing room so they can get out from under the burden of student loan debt.

This announcement builds on what the Biden Administration has been able to achieve for students and student loan borrowers in the past few years. This includes: fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program so that borrowers who go into public service get the debt relief they’re entitled to under the law; achieving the largest increases in Pell Grants in over a decade to help families who earn less than roughly $60,000 a year; and holding colleges accountable for leaving students with unaffordable debts.

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on our student debt relief plan, we are continuing to pursue an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible,” said President Biden. [[link removed]] “I won’t back down from using every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams.”

— Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.

P.S. The delegate application for the 2024 Democratic National Convention is now open through March 6th! New Jersey has 146 delegates and 20 districts under the DSP, and we’re committed to our goals of having a diverse and equitable delegation. Interested in being a pledged delegate? Apply now at [[link removed]]
Paid for by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, 142 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608.
New Jersey Democratic State Committee
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